• drToothChampion

Toothbrush for young children

Updated: Aug 17, 2019




Step into the pharmacy or supermarket and you’ll be spoiled for choice on toothbrushes for your children these days. Here I’ll be reviewing some toothbrushes for young children and their relative brush sizes, bristle softness and any other extra features they may have. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list...there are many reasonable brands out there too that I have not been able to try yet.


1. Toothbrushes for 6-12 months old

What parents need to look out for here is a really small head regular toothbrush with nylon bristles, not silicone brushes nor finger brushes. Soft bristles are recommended at this stage but yet firm enough to remove plaque when brushing. Parents/caregivers or an adult should always be helping the infant to brush and clean his/her mouth.

This toothbrush is my one of my favourites for the tiny weeny teeth. At about 6 to 12 months, there are generally about two to six teeth to brush in a small infant's mouth. The tiny brush head and compact bristles of this Pigeon toothbrush allow more effective cleaning of plaque and food debris from the teeth surfaces.

The advantage of this toothbrush is not only its soft bristles which would be gentle to the gums, but also the relatively long handle to allow parents with big hands to grip the toothbrush better. However, one may find that the brush head may be a little too large for the babies below the age of one or those with very tiny mouth. This brush would be more suited to those with bigger mouths.

The Oral-B Stages 1 baby toothbrush has a fairly wide brush head which would hopefully cover more surfaces of the teeth during brushing. But in reality, it is still important to brush all the teeth surfaces individually as much as possible so having a wide brush head isn't much of an advantage. I do like the softness of the compact bristles and the colourful patterns on the toothbrush but the brush head is quite large so it can be a struggle if you are dealing with a small mouth.


2. Toothbrushes for 1-3 years old

At this stage, there will be more teeth and therefore a good toothbrush is important. It is preferable to still use a soft bristled brush but not too soft. During these toddler years, your child will start consuming more sugar-based foods and therefore, the plaque that forms on the teeth is more tenacious. If your child’s teeth are showing increasing yellow or orange stains on them overtime despite brushing, it is probably time to change the toothbrush or pick one with harder bristles. The brush head should be a normal one with all fairly equal bristle length.

This toothbrush looks simple but it does the job. The bristles are soft but still firm, which would be quite gentle to the gums. The bristles are of equal length and the brush head is narrow enough to move around in the child’s mouth. The handle may be a bit short for parents/caregivers with big hands. Despite the age range stated on the packaging, I would recommend this toothbrush for those 2 years and above.

For parents or caregivers who prefer a smaller brush head but yet soft, firm bristles, this is the toothbrush to go for. The compact bristles are a plus point too as they help to remove plaque more effectively. The handle of the toothbrush is a little short so again, it might be tough for some parents to hold it. This toothbrush is quite good for the younger age groups with small mouths like 1 to 3 years of age.

Parents who prefer a bigger brush head can look for Oral-B’s Stages 2 toothbrush. The bristles are soft and firm but not as firm as Kodomo Pro or DentalPro toothbrushes mentioned above. Oral-B Stages 2 toothbrush is suitable for parents who are more forceful…ie want to scrub the child’s teeth harder but not cause any unintentional discomfort to the child. Also, Oral-B toothbrushes for children usually have popular cartoon characters on them to help inject some fun in toothbrushing.

Colgate kids toothbrush has the softest bristles among all the toothbrushes listed in this section for toddlers. The great thing is that it is unlikely to cause any discomfort to your child during brushing even if you exert more force to scrub the teeth. However, it might not do a proper job as very soft bristles do not remove stubborn plaque stains effectively. Also, soft bristles mean that the brush can get frayed quite easily, making frequent toothbrush changes necessary. Colgate regularly features popular cartoon characters on their toothbrushes to attract children, and the toothbrush has a suction cup at the end of the handle to enable it to be stored upright, which might just add to the fun of toothbrushing for your child.


3. Toothbrushes for 4 years and above

All the brands above also offer toothbrushes for children above 3 years of age. Here are the main features in each that I feel may be beneficial for toothbrushing depending on your child’s needs.

Pros: Soft, firm bristles with a narrow brush head.

Cons: Not as colourful as other toothbrushes so may be less attractive for the child.

Pros: Soft bristles, colourful cartoon characters.  

Cons: Large brush head not suitable for small mouths.

Pros: Relatively cheap, compact and soft bristles.

Cons: Not as fancy as other toothbrushes, brush head may be too small for the older ones aged 10 and above.

Pros: Colourful cartoon characters, suction cup at end of handle.

Cons: Bristles very soft and not even so may miss some areas during brushing.


4. Electric toothbrush for children

As mentioned in my previous post, the most effective electric toothbrush would be one where the brush head rotates. Electric toothbrushes can be an attractive solution for some children who dislike routine manual toothbrushing. My recommendation would be electric toothbrushes from Oral-B. For children, there are generally 2 ranges of electric toothbrushes from Oral-B.

Despite the age stated for 3 years and above, the brush head can be a little large for some 3-year-olds’ mouths. Generally most children can start using this electric toothbrush at about 5 to 6 years old. For Oral-B Stages Power, there are 2 types: rechargeable and battery-operated. Depending on how hardworking you are at purchasing batteries or charging the toothbrush, both types are same in terms of the brush head and operation.

This electric toothbrush would be suitable for those aged 10 and above generally due to brush head size and rotation speed. It does not come with cartoon characters at the moment so I figure it is meant to target the older children. It is a good choice of electric toothbrush for those transiting from kiddy to regular adult toothbrushes.

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